Recessed Ceiling Box Lighting

We’ve all seen the basic florescent lighting fixture. Bare, bald, bland and industrial looking lighting isn’t the way to go in your interior design much less your garage space. That’s where recessed box ceiling lights come into play. Best of all, you can install these recessed light sources into an existing kitchen, bathroom or laundry space with ease. Use this guide and you’ll be on your way to getting the most out of your basic florescent tube lighting.

Before you begin

Before doing any electrical work, always turn off the breaker to the source. You can test if the power is shut off by testing it with an electrical meter. You can buy these for less than $5 at any hardware store. If you’re not sure, just turn off the breaker to the entire house. Be sure you have a flashlight handy to work in the now dark place.

Besides electrical wiring causing shocks, the recessed area where the light fixture is going to be installed in needs to be checked for structural irregularities that might make this job impossible. As long as there is room between joists, trusses or other structural material, you can remove the material and create the box; otherwise, you will need to choose a suitable location for your recessed light.

Padding out the space

Ensure that your lighting fixture is going to fit into the space with a quick measurement. You’re going to want to add a minimum of two inches of space around the ballast on all sides. This will prevent any fire problems from occurring. That means if you’re going to use ½ inch drywall, you’ll need to add an extra three inches to the space around the box. Using a few studs or other suitable deadwood material, frame the box so that each side is plumb and square.


Trimming the interior or exterior of the box out is the next step. First, install the wiring and ceiling light fixture into the center of the opening. Now drywall can be attached and cut around the inside of the recessed box. Next, attach a piece of trim around the inside edge of the recessed box. Cut the trim on 45 degree angles on each end to get a picture frame look. Ensure that the frame hangs in on each side ½ inches. Square the trim using the 3-4-5 measuring method. This is accomplished by measuring in the vertical direction three inches, then in the horizontal four inches. Now connect the two marks with a diagonal measurement. If it equals five, then the frame is square. If it’s not, some minor adjustments may be needed to make the frame square. Once the frame is square a piece of frosted glass or crushed ice plastic may be used to cover the florescent ballast.